Writing an estate plan could be among the most helpful things a parent or grandparent could do to help their families. When someone passes away, the beneficiaries may receive that person’s assets as dictated in a will or trust. However, the children or grandchildren might not be knowledgeable about Louisiana estate and probate laws. They may not understand specific responsibilities related to assets bequeathed to them. So, it could be helpful for parents and grandparents to discuss estate plans.
Avoiding problems with probate
When beneficiaries don’t understand the laws and circumstances related to a last will and testament, they could cause unnecessary problems during probate, such as contesting the will on weak grounds — explaining who receives what and why could reduce the chances of probation litigation.
Even when all parties get along, chances exist problems may arise. Adult children and grandchildren might not know how probate works, how long they should wait for the process to end or who handles what responsibilities. Explaining how probate works might resolve some issues. For example, discussing any expected tax debts or obligations could prepare the beneficiaries for what is to come.
Continuing the estate plan dialogue
A one-time discussion might not be enough. Revisiting estate plans with relatives could be unavoidable if changes occur. If the testator comes into a windfall inheritance, estate plan changes might be necessary. Talking about these changes could be critical.
If the beneficiaries are too young or incompetent to handle the inheritance, perhaps choosing a trust instead of a will would be better. A trust enables the estate planner to maintain decision-making control that wouldn’t exist with a will.
Also, not all estate plans involve the planner passing away. Healthcare and financial power of attorney forms could be part of the plans. Talking about these documents may help relatives understand their purpose and value.
As the saying goes, sooner may be better than later. Therefore, it could be good to set up a formal meeting with children or grandchildren to discuss estate plans.